Brazil court ‘foils’ attempt by Bolsonaro’s party to overturn election results

An attempt to reverse the results of the recently-held presidential election, as Brazil’s electoral court rejected the challenge mounted by outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro’s party.

Superior Electoral Court President Alexandre de Moraes also fined the parties in Bolsonaro’s far-right party $4.3m for what the court described as bad faith litigation.

Bolsonaro narrowly lost to the leftist former leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and his Liberal Party (PL) claimed without evidence that voting machines were compromised. Lula is scheduled to take office on January 1.

Moraes said the complaint was “offensive to democratic norms” and had sought to “encourage criminal and anti-democratic movements”.

Last week, the ruling party lawyers filed a 33-page request citing a software bug in the majority of Brazil’s machines – they lack individual identification numbers in their internal logs – to argue all votes they recorded should be nullified.

Lula’s victory – with 50.9 percent to Mr Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent – has been ratified by the Superior Electoral Court.

Bolsonaro has previously claimed that Brazil’s electronic voting system is not fraud-proof. However, he has still not conceded defeat, but has given the go-ahead for a presidential transition, but stepped away from the public gaze after losing the election on 30 October.

Immediately after Lula’s win was declared, many lorry drivers supporting Bolsonaro erected roadblocks and there were scuffles with police. But Mr Bolsonaro later told them that blocking roads was not a part of “legitimate” protests.

Some of his followers have continued demonstrating outside military barracks, urging a military intervention to prevent Lula taking office.

Lula, who previously served as president from 2003 to 2010, is now 77 and will become the oldest person to assume the post.

His victory was a stunning comeback for a politician who could not run in the last presidential election in 2018 because he was in jail and barred from public office. But his conviction for corruption was later annulled.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, drew much support from evangelical Christians and other conservatives anxious to protect family values. But his tenure also saw accelerated deforestation of the Amazon and growing inequality.

‘Far-right ideology is still very much alive’

Jair Bolsonaro has been defeated in last month’s presidential election, but the far-right ideology is still very much alive in Brazil, said Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on last week.

“We defeated Bolsonaro,” he told a room packed with supporters in Portugal’s capital Lisbon. “(But) Bolsonarismo is still alive and we need to defeat it … Let’s defeat it, but not using the methods they used against us.”

“We don’t want persecution … violence. We want a country that lives in peace,” said Lula who, before arriving in Portugal, attended the UN climate conference COP27 in the Egyptian sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

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